When you go rafting with New Wave, you may also go surfing. Huh?
Well … you can surf a raft like you can surf a kayak, which is to stay in place on the face of a wave.
To surf a raft you need to locate a pour-over, which is like a small waterfall, and then maneuver the bow of the raft under the fall of water.
The water then starts to fill the boat, which is the fun part. Eventually you struggle free, and the raft empties (it’s self-bailing).And that is raft surfing.
When you go rafting with New Wave, you may also go surfing. Huh?
Our Guide Training Program was doing repeat runs on the Racecourse on the day (5/7/2012) that was slated for the annual clean-up effort. Our trainees picked-up trash while scouting rapids or pulled the rafts over to the shore for garbage seen along the way.
Photo by Britt Runyon
Today is Day 4, and the final day, of the instructional phase of our Guide Training Program. Tomorrow begins the two-week practice phase, followed by a Final Exam, and the graduation to Apprentice Guide of those that pass. We have a very mixed-bag of trainees – older and younger, male and female, tall and short etc. They have great enthusiasm, and we look forward to having some of them join our ranks. Here are some shots from Big Rocks rapid, and their Nemesis – the Slot.
Photos by Britt Runyon.
The New Wave HQ is located in Embudo, NM, and just a very short ways up Hwy 75 from Embudo is the very picturesque village of Dixon. New Wave President Kathy Miller is the Fire Marshal of the Dixon Volunteer Fire Dep’t., which services this larger area.Today (5/6/2012) is the occasion of the DVFD fund-raising pancake breakfast, which was very well-attended. Kathy was serving eggs when I got there.
Yesterday, after work, Kathy and I threw a couple of funyaks on the trailer and drove 3 miles upstream to the County Line. This is where the Racecourse section ends and the Bosque section starts. The Bosque is Class 2 (easy), and very scenic. It is also at some distance from the highway, and therefore more secluded and less noisy. The word “bosque” means cottonwood grove in Spanish, and there are lots of cottonwoods lining the banks of the Bosque section. We took our flyrods and tied on bright-colored Woolly Buggers, because the water is still a little off-color. We caught rainbow trout and smallmouth bass, and enjoyed the moonrise, with the moon supposedly larger in the sky this month. The water is now a comfortable 65 degrees, and the air temperature was in the mid-80s. Nice! We took out at our property (aka Millers Landing) as the sun finally set.
Karen House and guests surf their raft at Souse Hole rapid, May 1, 2012.
The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was busy this winter, improving the camping and boating facilities in the Orilla Verde (Green Banks) Recreation Area (OVRA). You earlier saw, on this Blog, a report of the work done at the boat ramp at Taos Junction Bridge, where the Taos Box trip ends, and the Rio Grande Gorge trip starts. They did a great job.
They have also just completed work on the Arroyo Hondo campground, which now has great views of the river and is very beautifully landscaped.
Who pays for this work, by the way? You do, at least in part. We collect, from you, 3% of the rafting fee, to turn over to the BLM. It’s a Federal User Fee, and it goes back to the “resource” (the BLM facilities on and along the river).
I consider the camping opportunities that are found in OVRA to be as nice as you could hope to find anywhere. What a beautiful canyon and river, with fishing, hiking, biking, birding, boating, swimming, lazing around in a gorgeous setting and sitting by the campfire all available. You just can’t beat it!
A much beloved local institution is the Pilar Yacht Club, a gathering spot for rafters and hungry travelers. They serve scrumptious food and stock lots of river running accessories, books, handicrafts and such.The place is run by our friends Eva and Rico, the latter a former river guide. They are located at the junction of NM 68 and 570, where you would turn to travel upstream to the Orilla Verde Recreation Area, Taos Junction Bridge and points beyond, and less than a hundred yards from the Rio Grande Gorge Visitor Center. A stop at the Yacht Club is de riguer for rafting parties. Say hello for us!
We’re having a beautiful Spring this year, with warm weather arriving early. The photos seen here were taken near the Gaging Station in the Orilla Verde Recreation Area of the Rio Grande. This is the stretch we run when we do our full-day Rio Grande Gorge trip.
I didn’t know beforehand that yesterday (4/23/2012) would be my first commercial river outing of the season. I thought my day would consist of a CPR/First Aid refresher, and probably little else. My boss, Kathy Miller, was poised for taking a group down the Racecourse with fellow guide Mike Boren. At the last minute a call comes in on Kathy’s emergency responder radio, that there is a brush fire in Dixon. Mrs. Miller’s other hat is that of a fire-fighter, and she is being summoned. And I was next in line for the assignment.
It was a stellar day to be out on the river – in the 70’s with those big willowy clouds that are not only a delight to look at but also supply a moment of shade. We met our guests at the County Line – two psychoanalysts and three film industry accountants. The party of three are in funyaks with Mike, and the two others with myself in the raft.
A predictable experience for those of us who spend a lot of time on the water is encountering the “weekend warrior” – an under-equipped and/or under-skilled private boater, in trouble. It happened again yesterday. We ere just above the Narrows, half-way through the section I call the “Mile of Smiles”. Mike was pulled over where he and guests were admiring some river-sculpted boulders, and I saw that he was signaling me. “Is he telling us to rescue someone?”, one of my ladies says, with a noticeably elevated pitch to her voice. I reply: “Yes, ma’am. Are you ready girls?”, and off we go. When we arrive, the warriors are carrying their boats up the steep bank to the highway. We confer with a fellow guide who had arrived on the scene before us. He tells me that all is good, then smiles as he suppresses a chuckle, recounting that the evacuees had sit-on-top hard kayaks from Wal-Mart. No wonder they got in trouble.
Not too far downstream we come upon what guides call ”river booty”, in this case zip lock bags that have floated to the shoreline. Not knowing what the bags may contain, I experience a bit of trepidation as I climb over a boulder to reach the eddy that holds these precious packages of someone else’s stuff. SCORE!! A Nikon D-90, a purple iPhone, an ostrich skin wallet that holds more plastic than the Taos landfill and a package of green Dentyne gum. I take a moment to consider these items, first the camera. I’m saying to myself: “Dude! This is an expensive tool. What were you thinking putting it in a zip lock? Don’t you know they make waterproof cases for these things?”; the iPhone, I just have to say this was tugging at my heart strings, being my favorite color, but why bring it on the river? There’s no reception in the canyon, and, again, water and electronics don’t mix; the wallet, well, bring it if you must; and the chewing gum? I head back to the raft, thinking that I may have won the lottery … but probably not. Chances are the poor sap will be waiting at the take-out hoping to see his belongings once again.
I appropriate a piece of gum and we continue. At the take-out, sure enough, we find the forlorn traveler. He looks at me sheepishly and inquires after his belongings. I hand the stuff over, while apologizing for taking a piece of his gum. He says that he has learned his lesson – that he should have had straps for his stuff. “No sir”, I reply, “the lesson to be learned is that next time you should go with an experienced outfitter”.